Church teaching on the death penalty?

Pope St. Pius V, Pope Pius XII, the Catechism of the Council of Trent and Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis and the newest Catechism of the Catholic Church seem to be at odds with each other regarding the death penalty.
On one hand on the side of Pope St. Pius V, Pope Pius XII, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, said that carrying out the death penalty is obedience to the the fifth commandment, also that if someone takes a life they deprive themselves the right to their life.
On the other hand on the side of Pope St. John Paul II, Pope Francis and the new CCC, the death penalty is only to be carried out if it is the only means to protect society.
So what is a Catholic suppose to think of this? Is it now a sin to carry out the death penalty if there are other means to protect society? Is it no longer obedience to the fifth commandment to carry out the death penalty?

The right is one thing. The prudent exercise and the changing need to exercise such for the sake of protection of society is another.

I don’t see a contradiction in what was said before and what is being said more recently. The “Catechism of the Catholic Church” says people can be put to death in particularly serious cases. As you provide it, earlier on the Church said the death penalty could be carried out, but without saying how often it should be carried out. The Catechism expands on this by giving guidance on how often.
Since the Catechism says the death penalty can still be justified, it shouldn’t be necessarily considered a sin.

The death penalty is wrong.

I agree. It is revenge.

Whether any of us consider it wrong or not the Church teaches that it may sometimes be necessary. We are free to support capital punishment or not.

CCC 2267 Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and are more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically non-existent.”
You should all watch this video.
For clarification, is it a sin to carry out the death penalty when there are other means to protect society?

There is no actual contradiction between the Church’s traditional teaching that capital punishment is permissible and the newer reluctance to use it. The taking of human life, even for self defense, should always be seen as an absolute last resort.

As things stand now, wouldn’t you only be free to support it though in very rare if not non-existent cases? How many conservatives do that?

Unless further modifications occur under Christ’s current chosen Holy Father, Pope Francis. And I hope he does go further in rejecting putting people to death because I totally agree with Nelka and gabanzo and appreciate their Catholic voices on this from England and Canada. I can’t for the life of me and never have been able to see how the state playing God and taking another’s life is any better than the crime the person is being executed for. Putting aside the fact that juries can be wrong, 2 wrongs don’t make a right.

Can someone please tell me if it is a sin to carry out the death penalty if there are other means to protect society? Please also read this article I don’t understand how the things people have told me on here are not in contrdiction to the traditional teaching and what past Popes have said about the death penalty.

Please elaborate on how there is no contradition.

No. Catholics are free to be for or against capital punishment. Our support is not limited.

Does that mean the state commits no sin if they execute the criminal when they have other means to protect society?

We’ll, sort of…the Church in no directives, teachings, or statements claim capital punishment to ever “be necessary”. And, to claim one is free to support it or not is an over simplification…the Church does not support a “pro” capital punishment stance without meeting the conditions in the Ccc reference you note.

You must realize that this website is famous for misrepresenting the teachings of the church. Perhaps they have documents on there, but they generally bash faithful priests as well as have scathing things to say about various Popes.
You might find some interesting prayers there, but it is NOT a site I would frequent.
here’s a recent review:
*Tradition in Action claims to be “committed to defend the perennial Magisterium of Holy Mother Church and Catholic traditions. TIA also works for a restoration of Christian civilization, adapted to contemporary historical circumstances.”
However, TIA’s members attempt to do this by ridiculing the Roman clergy, the Pope, and many prominent Catholic leaders and religious. Their manner of presenting pictures and commentary completely aside from any context is both a misrepresentation of facts and disgraceful to the Church and Her hierarchy. While ostensibly seeking to reinstate traditions in the Church, this site ridicules the living Tradition of the Church’s Magisterium and therefore, it cannot validly claim a right to defense of Holy Mother Church. We recommend avoiding it altogether. *

The quotes from previous Popes and Saints regarding the death penalty have me confused with how the Church now sees the death penalty.

Then why did the Catholic Church approve of burning heretics at the stake?

Please tell me where you get this claim from.

I think what the CCC is driving at is that if a state, province, or Countries laws are such that a crazed murderer can be set free or be given death, then death may have to be the choice in order to protect society.

Most states in the US can sentence an offender to life + extra years insuring that they never are a threat to society again. Under those circumstances it would be hard to justify an execution in my mind. I consider execution to be state sanctioned murder. Add to that fact so many people who have been handed out death sentences were found later to be innocent, and the fact that legal appeals are more costly than life incarceration, the DP just does not add up.

The US is one of the last “non-third world” countries to maintain the death penalty. Texas has executed countless nationals who were denied one way or another, legal council or support from their conciliates. If that were done to an American, well…

If a bad guy is sneaking up your stairway at night, you have the right to protect yourself and your family. If he is behind bars, and no longer a threat to society, what is the point in stepping into God’s shoes to deal out death in judgement? Why prevent this person from finding God once behind bars? He will still pull duty in purgatory, even if he is saved. No one gets off “scott free.”

History of the Inquisition. In many cases, people who were found guilty of heresy and obstinate in their heresy were turned over to the state for execution.
For a history of the inquisition please see:
Torquemada and the Spanish Inquisition by Rafael Sabatini
The Rise, The Growth and The End of the Spanish Inquisition by Jean Plaidy
The Inquisition of the Middle Ages: Its Organisation and Operation, and A History of the Inquisition of Spain by Henry Charles Lea

Also, for execution of obstinate heretics, please see Summa Theologica > Second Part of the Second Part > Question 11

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